Pastor of the Week: April 24, 2013

caines | 4/25/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Historic church instills messages of faith into its congregation Last year in October, a cross-generational crowd came together for the centennial celebration of The Historical Mt. Olivette Missionary Baptist Church. The historic church is known for having entire generations of families being dedicated members and even having supporters who may no longer attend the church, but still feel very connected to it. Those supporters hold on to their roots and memories from afar. And Mt. Olivette, their home, remains. Rev. Franklin R. Clark, 71, who has pastored the church for 33 years, believes the churchs sustainability and former members dedication to Mt. Olivette goes back to their senior saints passing their values on to younger generations. They have to see it modeled, Clark said. Somethings are better caught than taught. He used marriage as an example, saying younger Christians who want to get married should be able to look to older Christians who are married to receive some pointers. The churchs focus is on evangelism and trying to prepare sheep for the work of the ministry, which is evident in their weekly community outreach initiatives. Every Wednesday they leave the seats and hit the streets, according to Clark. In efforts of continuing the churchs longevity, one of its top priorities is reaching out to the youth, without neglecting their senior saints. We try to keep a balance, he said. Its important that we link the past with the present or well tend to forget the past. The church has a very strong youth group, according to Clark. Clark compared the church to a hospital, saying that every hospital has a maternity ward. If youre not having babies born in the maternity ward, then that means youre dying out, he said. Somebody has to be groomed. This is why the older congregation members have been teaching the youth the churchs focus and values, while also learning new methods for finance and technology from the youth. Clark said he is aware that many of the youth will leave Miami after graduating high school to go off to college and other members may leave someday also. But regardless of where they go their spiritual growth is what is most important to Clark. What I try to do, as a pastor, is to instill in them when they leave no matter what direction might carry them, he said. Theyll have something solid to draw from, where they still can cope as a Christian individual. By Malika A. Wright mwright@miamitimesonline.com